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Hall unveils Sardis Connector map

Proposal affects about 80 properties

POSTED: February 9, 2008 5:03 a.m.
The latest map for the proposed route of the Sardis Road Connector is now available on the Hall County government Web site.

Although the map is not a document of the final route for the Sardis Road Connector construction, it is the route the county is pursuing right now, said Jody Woodall, road projects manager for Hall County.

"What we’re calling it is our ‘preferred alignment,’" Woodall said. "It may change as we go through the process, but that’s what we’re trying to pursue right now."

The map shows a 5.1-mile route from Thompson Bridge Road near its intersection with Mount Vernon Road to Chestatee Road.

The proposed road would add a fourth leg to the three-way intersection where Chestatee Road and Sardis Road meet near Hall County Fire Station 13. Upon completion of the project, the intersection would make all the roads meet at 90-degree angles, said Teri Pope, communications officer for the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Woodall said the preferred alignment map is a result of the comments residents gave at the public information session in May. At the time, three different routes were proposed for the connector.

"We’re trying to let everybody know what we’re looking at so they have the most information they can get," Woodall said.

The DOT is footing the estimated $20.4 million bill for the road’s construction with federal and state gas tax monies, but no money has yet been budgeted.

"Construction is on the list, but it is unfunded," Pope said.

Georgia law requires that all of the land must be purchased before construction can begin, and DOT construction dates and funding depend on how long it takes for county officials to buy the right of way, Pope said.

There are about 80 parcels of land that will be affected by the route that the county is currently pursuing, Woodall said. "That’s not 80 total-takes or 80 houses that would be taken down, that’s just 80 parcels that would be affected."

A similarly sized project would take the DOT an average of two to three years to acquire the property, Pope said.

But the county plans to have the land acquired within a year from the time it receives authorization from the DOT, Woodall said.

There will be several "right-of-way teams" working on the acquisition process, he said. "The goal is to put multiple (acquisition teams) on it so we can get it acquired sooner."

The teams will appraise affected parcels and negotiate with affected residents.

"There’s a number we can live with, and obviously, there’s a number each of the residents can live with," Woodall said. "If we can’t come to an agreement, then we have to take it to the court system and let the court system decide what the value is."

However, Woodall said the county will not discuss right-of-way acquisitions with affected residents until the environmental impact statement is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. The impact statement is required by the National Environmental Policy Act because the construction will have some federal funding.

Another public comment session on the proposed Sardis Road Connector has not been scheduled, but Woodall said there should be one this summer for residents to give their opinions. Whether or not the comment session will affect the final outcome of the map is unknown.

"There could be changes," Woodall said. "It’s going to depend a lot on what the state and federal highways say about the involvement in the comments received."


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